Monday, March 20, 2017

A "pop of color" for hooded or small eyes: the inner corner accent

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A "pop of color" for hooded or small eyes: the inner corner accent

My eyes are small and fairly hooded (likely to become moreso as I age), which gives me limited eyelid space to work with when I apply eyeshadow. In most of my blog photos, I have to tilt my head back a little and raise my eyebrow so that my eyeliner, or whatever I'm featuring, is fully visible. My usual eyeshadow technique is to use just 1-3 shades layered horizontally. That means with three shades I will have one on my mobile lid, one across the crease and in the outer corner, and one on my browbone. There's not a lot of room for blending designs that are more complex than that.

With my eye shape and size, one of the things I struggle with is using bright or bold eyeshadow colors. It's easy to overwhelm my eyes if I use vibrant colors all over my eyelids, and the usual "accent" suggestions tend not to work out the way I want. For instance, lining below my eye with a bold color closes it up and makes it look smaller, along with still overpowering everything else. If I put colors in the crease, they get swallowed up and are only visible if I blink. I can use a bright color as a liner on my top lid, and I do that sometimes, but I'd rather just use a bright eyeliner than to relegate my bright eyeshadows to eyeliner duty.

Recently I've found a way to add a colorful accent to my eyes that is neither invisible nor overwhelming. I apply the bright shade to the inner corner of my mobile lid and blend it about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way toward the middle of my eyelid. I don't know if I've ever seen this technique in an eyeshadow tutorial, though I have seen inner corner accents that are blended both above and below the corner. I really enjoy the subtle effect of just applying the color to part of my upper lid. Depending on the shape of your eye, this may or may not create a look that you like. I know that some people are hesitant to put deeper shades near the inner corners of their eyes, because it can make your eyes look closer together, but that isn't an issue for me. My eyes aren't particularly wide-spaced, but they are rather deep-set, so there is already a natural shadow in that area. If you prefer, you could use the color above the outer corner of your eye instead, but there it tends to hide more in my crease.

A "pop of color" for hooded or small eyes: the inner corner accent

For the look in this post, I did my eyeshadow just as I normally would (described above) and then added the teal accent after the other shades. I used this old MUA palette called Dusk Til Dawn (swatched here, expensive from Amazon here, affordable in the UK here), and since it's all shimmers, it's admittedly a little much.

MUA Dusk Til Dawn Eyeshadow Palette

I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to keep this palette (which is why I used it exclusively today). It performs well, and the teal is really beautiful, but the other shades aren't very unique in my hoard. I might try to depot just the teal, but I'm a little nervous that I will destroy it, since the palette is constructed pretty securely.

Does anyone else do bright inner-corner accents? If not, what else do you do with your boldest eyeshadows? You should in no way try to convince me to buy the Urban Decay Electric Palette. Ahem.

(I know we're all sick of the phrase "pop of color," but then you all immediately know what I'm talking about when I use it, so . . . . )

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Excuses are boring (but shopping is not?)

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The title of this post comes from one of the mantras of Unfuck Your Habitat, a book that, in the greatest of ironies (not really), I have not got around to reading yet. Will it also help my unfuck my blogging, I wonder? How is it that I haven't managed to write anything in a week? WHAT IS TIME.

Excuses (the weather has been gloomy and my camera is mediocre and I don't have a good lighting set up and all my ideas require many photos) are boring. I'll try to hammer out an actual review later today.

Other than not blogging, I have also not been buying beauty products this month (except my Sephora Play subscription, which I signed up for last month). That's good, because I am still paying off all the vet bills from the last few months that I put on my credit card. (In happier news, we are now on the cat fostering list at our local humane society, so we should have a new kitty to look after before too long.)

However, my No Buy has not prevented me from monitoring sales, and it will not prevent me from alerting you to them. In my opinion, one of the best strategies for smart shopping is to put things you want on a list, and then when/if they go on sale, revisit the list to see if you still really want them. (Half of the time, in my case, the answer is no.) Doing this really helps me curb impulse spending. Of course, it doesn't work for limited edition products, but I'm not generally especially interested in those, anyway.

The big sale right now is Ulta's 21 Days of Beauty, and the most interesting deal of the day, in my opinion, is Too Faced Love Flush Blushes for half price ($13). I've read good things about them, and the embossing is very pretty, but I'm viscerally opposed to heart-shaped things. Not to mention that I have more than enough blush at the moment. You can see the whole calendar of deals here. Actually, most of the upcoming deals that look most interesting to me are blushes, like the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes, which will also be 50% off. I guess this is my anti-haul statement, then, because I don't need any of these and I'm not going to buy them (but I'm not about to shame you if this is the right time to pick up something you've had your eye on).

I also haven't abandoned my ancient beauty blog, btw--I just need to get my shit together.

So this seems like a good idea to ask for your best organization and motivation advice! I'm not someone who tries to fill every hour of the day with work, but I would love to avoid the panic of realizing a week has passed and I haven't done fuck all.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Zit Magic: Review of COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches

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Review of COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches

Things have been a little slow here on the ol' blargh. I'm going to try to post more frequently, but in case you haven't noticed, when I don't have time to write blog posts I tend to post more frequently on Instagram since I can put something up quickly on the bus or during my lunch break. Last week I posted a couple of new things I've been trying, which I'll review here more thoroughly eventually. (If you aren't an Instagram user, you can still view these posts in your browser.)

Today I am reviewing a type of product that will be nothing new at all to many of you--but I'm guessing there are still some people out there who, like me, are late to the game and haven't discovered these magical pimple patches yet. They are most definitely one of the best skin discoveries I've made in the past year. I had them sitting on my Amazon shopping list for a very long time before I finally got around to buying any, and I wish I'd tried them sooner.

The COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches are thin, round, hydrocolloid bandages. They come in three sizes, and they look like this:

Review of COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches

Lab Muffin has a great post explaining in detail how hydrocolloid patches work, but essentially what they do is absorb fluids. You stick one of these things on top of a pimple, and it sucks the goo out and dries it up. Sure, you could just squeeze your zits, but you risk doing damage to your skin that way, and there's also a good chance that they will just get infected again. These patches will not only soak up the crud, they will serve as a protective layer to prevent more bacteria from getting in there.

There are limitations to what they can do. Patches won't work very well on those deep, underground, cystic pimples that many of us get, especially on our chins. The fluid needs to be closer to the surface. Basically, my rule is that if it looks like I might possibly be able to squeeze it, I'll put a patch on it. If I definitely couldn't, I'll just dab some tea tree oil on the spot and see what happens.

Also, you need to have clean, dry skin before sticking a patch on, or it will absorb things other than your zit goo and/or not adhere properly. Besides, you don't want to cover up a dirty pimple and seal a bunch of bacteria in there. Because they have to be applied to freshly cleansed skin, it can be tricky to apply moisturizers or other products on top of them. If you rub everything around too much, your products can make their way underneath the patch and cause it to start lifting. I've found that if I just sort of pat products on the area of my face where I've stuck a patch, that problem is avoided.

I only use these things at night, but the COSRX patches are thin and translucent enough that you might be comfortable using them during the day. I'd just prefer not. I apply them as needed before bed, and they feel like nothing on my face. When I wake up in the morning, the patch has turned white and swelled up in the center where it has absorbed fluid. It's really disgustingly satisfying. My perverse fascination with these patches has all but replaced my perverse fascination with popping zits. So that's good.

After I remove the patch, the pimple usually feels pretty dry on the surface. Most of the time, it takes a couple of nights to clean out a zit completely, and then I'm just left with a red spot that takes the usual amount of time to fade. I don't know about you, but that's much faster than any spot treatment product I've used before.

There are other brands of acne patches out there, the most well known probably being Nexcare. I've also tried Nexcare's, and while they worked, there are a few things I prefer about the COSRX patches. For one, the COSRX version is more translucent and thinner. That means that they are not only less conspicuous, but they are less likely to come off during the night, since they don't have thick edges that rub against my pillow. I've read some reviews that said the Nexcare patches absorb more fluid than the COSRX patches, but I didn't notice any difference. Since they are close to the same price, you might want to try them both and see which you prefer.

Another option is just to buy a larger hydrocolloid bandage meant for healing blisters and cut it up to make your own patches. I haven't tried this method myself, but you might be able to save a little money that way, and they're easier to find in US drugstores than acne patches, which you might have to order online.

The first couple of packs of COSRX patches I bought were ordered from Amazon with Prime shipping for about $5 each. Once I decided that I was hooked, I sprung for 10 packs for $24, making each one significantly cheaper. They still have free shipping, but since they ship from Korea, they take a couple of weeks to get here. (You can also get them with Prime shipping for $29.)

If you've been curious about these patches, I totally encourage you to give them a shot! They are both effective and mesmerizingly gross, so you really can't lose.

This is the only product I've tried so far from the Korean brand COSRX. I've heard good things about other products, like their honey moisturizer, and I would love your recommendations if you're a fan of the brand.

By the way, if you want a chance to try these patches for free, I'm currently holding a giveaway on Instagram, which includes a pack of COSRX patches along with a whole bunch of makeup. You don't need an Instagram account to enter, but you can find the details here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Free shipping from el.f. today only

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Today only all orders from e.l.f. ship free. Combinable with code: BOLDLIP, which gets you a 4-piece lip kit with a $25 order. Valid 3/2 only. I actually haven't bought anything from e.l.f. for a while, and I think the only thing I'm actively using are a variety of Studio (black) brushes that I've had for years, which I like a lot. Has anyone tried something new that's worth considering?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Quick updates to previous reviews

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One of my bad teacher habits is, when students ask questions, to say, "Oh, that's a good question! I don't know. I'll look it up and get back to you!" And then I completely forget about it and never follow up. So I'm going to try to be a better blogger than I am a teacher and follow up on some points I said I would come back to after more testing. This is an especially important thing to do because the condition of my skin tends to vary quite a bit seasonally, so if I test something even for a few months in spring-summer, my experience might change in fall-winter, and vice versa. So here we go!

Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator in Spotlight

Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator in Spotlight (original review here): When I tested this cream highlighter last summer, I found that it tended to disappear from my skin after just a few hours. I wondered whether it would last longer in the winter, when my skin was slightly drier. Verdict: no. It's still completely gone save for a few sparkles by about the 3-4 hour mark. Too bad, because it's so lovely.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ (original review here): Same sort of deal here--though in this case I wondered if the sunscreen would be worse, i.e. feel more drying, in the winter. Verdict: no. I've had no problems at all using this, regardless of how dry or oily my skin happens to be on a given day.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black (original review here): I didn't specifically say in my review that I wanted to update this one, but I had to stop using it long before it had started to dry up, because the tip became hopelessly frayed. If you missed it, I recently reviewed the Physician's Formula liquid liner, and it's much, much better. From what people have said, the tip holds up, too.

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Butter Cream (original review here): In my quick post about the second shade of this concealer that I bought, I wrote that it performed exactly the same as the first shade, Fondant. After using it for several more months, I have to say now that I don't think it's quite as good. The shade match for me is perfect, and the application is identical, but Butter Cream seems to crease a bit more and not to last quite as long as Fondant. So I think maybe these concealers, like many other products, vary in performance based on the shade you choose. If Fondant (reviewed here) seems like your match, though, I still heartily recommend it!

I posted about Hollar as a source of, among other things, discounted Essie, OPI, and China Glaze nail polish. I bought a bottle of Essie Leggy Legend from them for $3. Shipping was quick, products were as described, and the packing (above) was excellent. I recommend! (I also bought a cheese grater, two candles, and some hair elastics.)

I also added an additional photo to the end of my glitter primer post to show how it wears (and if it creases) after a full day, so if you missed that, check it out.

Oh, and in case you've been wondering if I've worn Kat Von D Poe (reviewed here) out of the house yet . . . . um, no. The shame. Oh, the shame.

That's all I've got for you right now, but always feel free to ask for updates on things I've reviewed in the past!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Drugstore Liquid Eyeliner Review Showdown: L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black vs. Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black

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Drugstore Liquid Eyeliner Review Showdown: L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black vs. Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black

I've recently tried two black liquid eyeliners in an attempt to replace the Stila liner (reviewed here) that ended up getting so frayed it's now unusable. Normally I don't like to have two products open at the same time that perform essentially the same function (much less three), but I disliked the first replacement liner I tried so much that I bought another. So here's a spoiler: the winner of the showdown is Liner #2, the absurdly named Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black.  I'm going to review the drugstore eyeliner that I do not recommend first (L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black), and the much more impressive PF Lash Booster (hereafter) second.

First, let's look at swatches of both of them, with Stila's eyeliner as a comparison. On the left, I drew a single line to show the initial opacity and thinness of the point, and then I went back over the same swatch several time to show what happens when you add multiple layers.

Swatches of Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black, L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Black

Left to right: PF Lash Booster in Ultra Black, L'Oréal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Intense Black.

The Stila liner is more completely black on the first swipe than either of the other two and also has more sheen. Because of its frayed tip, that's as fine a line as I can get (and it's impossible to use on my eyelid, because there are fibers pointing in all directions). The PF Lash Booster is a close second, but you can see in the sheerer areas at the edges of the swatches that it's a warmer black than the Stila. It's also more matte, which can make it look darker on the eyelid. When you swatch all three of these eyeliners next to one another, the L'Oréal swatch in the middle looks almost brown. It's also much sheerer, even on the right where I tried to build it up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

So Choix 3-Day Sale: $10/month

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If you've been interested in trying So Choix (here are my posts about the subscription for more info), now would be a good time to sign up, while membership is $120/year (i.e. $10/month). You only get this price if you pay up front for an annual subscription. You can cancel at any time and get a refund of your remaining subscription, so you're not locked in if you don't like it.
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